When Jesus so clearly taught that prayer is not a matter of saying words publicly, he inadvertently invented the elevator. No less with prayer than anything else, Jesus came to bring the vibrant presence of God into what had become just echoes of God’s reality in Judaism. (And, incidentally, what can always become just echoes for us, without being prepared for the rudeness of the Holy Spirit.)
This business of being in a small room has become a busy metaphor.
Roald Dahl, with Willy Wonka and the story of the Great Glass Elevator, had made it into a place of travel into previously inaccessible worlds.
With the phrase ‘coming out of the closet’ it has been reversed to indicate where an inner reality, at odds with the ‘normal’ perceived ‘outside’ is finally reconciled by public honesty. Congruity is what a counsellor would say, and a term worth getting to know. You may have first met it when studying the geometry of triangles.
Lift phobia somehow is part of the picture, too. We need to learn to be alone with God. This is where our God-birthed identity gains its pre-eminence – where it emerges.
Jesus knew what he was teaching about. In closet prayer we do travel to new places, and by honesty before God bring new realities into being. Going into prayer is, and must be, an open-ended adventure with a familiar feel – not a clung-onto re-enactment of a past reality.
Sorry about the abundance of hyphens. But they are there to link words and worlds.
And that is prayer.